Jessica Delhaye

My first research interest is the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions. 

Such as competition and predation, parasitism affects a broad range of species. Parasite species evolved multiple mechanisms enabling them to live, grow and reproduce relying on their hosts, and making them more or less virulent toward these hosts. This led to the evolution of numerous defensive adaptations and to trade-offs between defense against parasites and other life history traits related to self-maintenance (food intake, ageing) and reproduction (sexual trait development, health signaling, breeding success) in (intermediate and definitive) host species.
Oxidative stress refers to an oxidative imbalance. Pro-oxidants are natural byproducts of metabolism coming from various sources, notably mitochondria (during mitochondrial respiration and ATP production) and immune effectors. When they are not sufficiently counteracted by antioxidant defenses, pro-oxidants induce damage to lipids, proteins and DNA. Research has shown that pro-oxidant production, antioxidant availability and amount of oxidative damage could be linked to numerous other traits (self-maintenance, ageing, fight against parasites, secondary sexual trait development, breeding success, etc).
My PhD project focuses on the host-parasite interaction involving avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium sp.) in the host system: Parus major (bird host) and Culex pipiens (mosquitoe vector). The main aim is to investigate the link between host-parasite interaction and host oxidative stress.

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